Reform round-up

Classification—Content Regulation and Convergent Media (ALRC Report 118)

On 10 November 2015, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced its agreement to register a new Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice, submitted by Free TV, the industry group representing commercial free-to-air broadcasters.

The new code represents a move to less restrictive time zones. This is consistent with changes to the media environment and the outcomes of the ALRC’s Classification Review, which found that time zone restrictions on free-to-air television are becoming less relevant.

On 11 September 2015, the Hon Michael Keenan, Minister for Justice, announced new classification exemption arrangements for festivals and special events. This is consistent with Rec 6-3 in ALRC Report 118.

Family Violence—A National Legal Response (ALRC Report 114)

In August 2015, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the Queensland Government will implement all 140 recommendations in Dame Quentin Bryce’s landmark Not Now, Not Ever report into domestic and family violence. Not Now Not Ever draws on research and recommendations in the 2012 ALRC report Family Violence—A National Legal Response.

On 25 November 2015, the Australian Government introduced the Family Law Amendment (Financial Agreements and Other Measures) Bill 2015, which enables courts to better protect Australians affected by family violence. Among other things, the Bill repeals subsection 114(2), which implies that there is a continuing obligation to render conjugal rights or perform marital services. This amendment would implement Rec 17.6 of ALRC Report 114.

For Your Information: Australian Privacy Law and Practice (ALRC Report 108)

In December 2015, the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) called for public comment on a draft serious data breach notification Bill ahead of legislation being introduced in Parliament in 2016. The Draft Explanatory Memorandum states that the Bill implements the recommendations of the ALRC by requiring agencies and organisations regulated by the Privacy Act to provide notice to the Australian Information Commissioner and affected individuals of a serious data breach.

Submissions close on 4 March 2016.